Heavy marijuana users have been stereotyped as “lazy stoners” for a long time, but the effects of cannabis use on motivation and ambition haven’t been medically researched in the US until recently. Using PET brain imaging technology, some neurologists have found that long-term cannabis use actually lowers dopamine levels—a phenomenon known as amotivational syndrome.

What Is Amotivational Syndrome?

Amotivational syndrome is a psychological condition associated with diminished inspiration and willingness to participate in social situations and activities. For marijuana users who began smoking the drug at an early age, the dopamine shortage occurs in a brain region called the striatum.

Is Amotivational Syndrome Real?

In and out of the medical controversial, the condition is controversial, at least in regards to its association with cannabis use. Some marijuana advocates reject the idea, arguing that lazy behavior is more often than not the result of chronic intoxication — using the drug in quantities too large to reflect its merits fairly–or a pre-existing mood disorder like depression.

Also, the behavior may simply be a part of marijuana culture that exists independently of the natural Research is inconclusive, as is the question of cause vs effect. Still, chronic marijuana users display a narrowing of interests, outgoing actions and long-term goals; case-history and observational studies indicate that marijuana may have its own unique effect on dopamine production. Marijuana addicts report feeling as though they cannot enjoy activities and hobbies unless they smoke first. When they aren’t high, they may feel anxious, apathetic, lethargic, or socially inept.

How Can I Get Past Amotivational Syndrome

With its increasingly legal status throughout the US and innocuous reputation among any and all age groups and social classes, many users discount marijuana as a potential cause of whatever problems they may be having; thus, they don’t try to quit. If you suspect that marijuana is causing your lack of motivation… you’ve already begun your road to recovery, of sobriety.

That’s right: you’ll have to quit. Try not to be scared, but excited. We’re all capable of increasing the levels of dopamine in our brains through improved lifestyle choices: exercising regularly, maintaining a proper diet and sleep regimen, going out of our way to be active. It’s a much more rewarding way to live, and you can get there.

On a side-note: If you use marijuana for mood regulation, consult a doctor about the symptoms for which they feel the need to self-medicate. There may be an underlying psychiatric condition for which a legal, prescription medication can serve much more effectively. This will make it much easier to quit marijuana and advance toward a happier, more productive life. If you don’t feel like you can quit on your own, or have tried and failed, contact us here at Hired Power to discuss treatment options.

Marijuana addiction is a highly treatable condition, more-so than most narcotic addictions disorders. Call us at 800-910-9299 to discuss cannabis addiction and ways of treating it.